How does Apple Pay compare to Google Pay?

Editorial Team

4 min read
Apple Pay app on phone

Apple Pay® and Google Pay™ are two popular mobile payment technologies. Apple Pay came out in late 20141, and Google Pay (formerly Google Wallet™ and Android Pay™) launched in 2018.2

Although they are rival payment options, Apple Pay and Google Pay share a lot in common:

  • Both allow users to upload credit card details into their mobile devices.
  • Both use a form of tokenization to hide personal account numbers (PANs) during transactions.
  • Both use near field communication (NFC), allowing shoppers to make purchases without physically touching merchants’ payment terminals.

Given the similarities between these two mobile payment systems, why should a customer (or merchant) choose one over the other?

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The primary differences between Apple Pay and Google Pay

When you look at the bigger picture, there are not many differences between these two mobile wallets. It really boils down to what type of device is being used – Apple or Android.

How do you make payments?

Apple Pay® – This payment technology is available for iPhone® and iPad® models that have Face ID or Touch ID (except for iPhone 5s), and Apple Watch® (Series 1 and 2 and later). The necessary technology comes preinstalled on these devices.3

You can add credit cards, debit cards, and prepaid cards, and even store loyalty cards through PayPass technology.4

When making a purchase with an iPhone, a user can authenticate the transaction one of several ways:

  • Looking at iPhone’s screen for Face ID function
  • Entering passcode for iPhone
  • Resting finger on Touch ID

The user then holds the iPhone close to the NFC reader until the transaction is processed and the display shows “Done” with a check mark.

When using an Apple Watch, the user can make a payment by double-clicking the side button and holding the watch display near a contactless reader.

Google Pay® – This wallet works on most NFC-enabled Android smartphones or watches, and there is also an app for the iPhone.5 In nearly all cases, users must actively download the Google Pay app to their respective devices to begin using it.

Like Apple Pay, Google Pay also allows users to upload credit, debit, prepaid, and loyalty cards.

When making an in-store purchase, users simply need to unlock their phones and hold them near the contactless payment reader. There is no need to open the Google Pay app. When the transaction is complete, the user will see a blue checkmark displayed on the screen. Users do need to turn on the NFC payment function within their phones to be able to use at the terminal.6

If paying with a smartwatch, the user needs to open the Google Pay app and hold it near the terminal until he/she feels or hears a buzz. They may also be prompted to enter a PIN number for a debit card or select “credit” to complete the payment.

Can you make P2P, in-app, or online payments?

Apple Pay – Users can make peer-to-peer (P2P) payments via Apple Cash through the Messages app on their device, or they can ask Siri to pay someone using a credit or debit card stored in the app.

They can also make in-app or online purchases wherever they see the Apple Pay logo.

Google Pay – Users can send money in the Google Pay app to a phone number or email address on an iOS or Android device.

Like Apple Pay, Google Pay can also be used for in-app or online purchases where ever the Google Pay logo is found.

Where are these mobile payments accepted?

From retailers to restaurants to transit agencies to college campuses, both payment options are accepted at millions of locations around the world.

Which mobile payment option should you add to your store?

Fortunately, you probably won’t have to decide between accepting Apple Pay or Google Pay. Merchants with NFC terminals can process payments using either platform. Check with your payments provider to determine if you have the right hardware or software.

If you need help getting started accepting mobile wallets, don’t hesitate to connect with a representative today.

Disclaimer: All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

1 “Apple Announces Apple Pay,” Apple, 9 September 2014
2 “Google Launches Google Pay, Its Answer to Apple Pay,” Fortune, 20 February 2018
3 “Apple Pay is compatible with these devices,” Apple
4 “Apple Wallet Versus Google Pay – Which Is Best?” Online Tech Tips, 16 August 2019
5 “Set up Google Pay,” Google Pay Help
6 “Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay: How They Stack Up,” U.S. News & World Report, 23 December 2019

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